Experts said downtown L.A. is a cornerstone of the region's tourism industry.
DOWNTOWN LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- Pre-pandemic, downtown Los Angeles was buzzing with residents, workers and tourists. But like most city hubs, it grew quiet during the COVID-19 pandemic.
California fully reopened Tuesday, and it couldn't happen soon enough for many businesses.
"First of all, it should become a national holiday because it really marks and symbolizes the renaissance of Los Angeles and our property," said Niles Harris, area hotel manager at the Intercontinental Los Angeles Downtown. "We, like many businesses, especially in the tourism space, have really been decimated by the pandemic."
According to The Central City Association of Los Angeles, downtown's economy thrives on diverse businesses ranging from government jobs to hospitality, professional services and technology. In addition, experts said downtown L.A. is a cornerstone of the region's tourism industry.
"When you think about the economic impact that tourism has in the greater Los Angeles area and in downtown L.A. specifically is just incredible," said Adam Burke, president and CEO at the Los Angeles Tourism and Convention Board. "In 2019, we had 51 million visitors to Los Angeles, and over 22 million choose to spend part of their time in downtown Los Angeles. Those visitors spent over $38 billion in our local business community."
And while conventions have been put on hold or virtual, the L.A. Tourism and Convention Board said that's also something that's bouncing back. Los Angeles will be hosting six conventions by the end of the year.
"Reservations are really picking up fast and far exceeding last year in 2020," said Harris.
There's also a lot of planning around safety protocols.
"We actually partnered with Clear, and for those of you who travel you've seen them across the country," said Burke. "So that someone that's attending an event where we're using Clear Health Pass can simply log into the app and upload their vaccination or negative COVID test."